Defensive programming is a much avoided topic by developers. Rushing to deliver features is almost always prioritized higher than spending time to defensively program code for robustness. Especially in the database world where this concept is much misunderstood. This is why it was real pleasure to read Alex Kuznetsov's book "Defensive Database Programming with SQL Server".
Alex deals with this "inconvenient" topic using very practical approach. Instead of filling pages with theory and reasons why defensive programming is good, he dives right into simple examples from the daily work of every database professional. We have all seen (and ignored) many of these issues, but demonstrating how this affects our code and how simple it is to avoid these problems makes this book shine. It is not a complete catalog of defensive techniques, rather a good collection of examples to illustrate the need for defensive coding and applicable methods. It builds the mindset to think proactively and create robust solutions.
The book includes coverage of the following topics: basic defensive technique, code vulnerabilities, changes to database objects, upgrades, reusing code, data integrity and constraints, error handling, concurrency.
In many ways this book reminds me of the classic work by Donald Norman on designing everyday things (The Design of Everyday Things), which in similar manner demonstrates how defensive design can prevent human errors.
In conclusion, "Defensive Database Programming with SQL Server" is a wonderful addition to the library of every database professional. It should be required reading for all SQL practitioners.
Labels: best practices, books, sql